Lac sulphuris - Large ginger

Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.

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'Lac sulphuris - Large ginger', in Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007) pp. . British History Online [accessed 4 March 2024]

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Lac sulphuris

[lac sulph]

Translated into English, the term means 'milk of SULPHUR', because of its white colour. It was in fact a POWDER and not a liquid. The Latin name indicates its use in APOTHECARY. If powdered, ROLL BRIMSTONE is boiled with 'milk of LIME' and dissolves into what the early alchemists called 'theion hudor' or the 'divine water'. When this solution is acidified with dilute hydrochloric acid, known then as 'Spirit of salt', it precipitates out as Lac sulphuris [Partington (1953)]. By the Dispensatory of 1746, the name had been changed officially to Sulphur praecipitatum or Precipitated sulphur, with a slightly different recipe using a weak SPIRIT OF VITRIOL in place of the 'Spirit of Salt' [Pemberton (1746)].

OED earliest date of use: 1728

Sources: Inventories (late).
References: Partington (1953), Pemberton (1746).

Lace band

[lacest band; laced band; lace-band]

A BAND made of LACE

OED earliest date of use, but without definition: 1614

Sources: Diaries, Inventories (mid-period).

Lace loom

[lace lome]

During the second half of the eighteenth century innovators found ways of modifying the STOCKING FRAME so as to be able to make LACE. In 1768 a stocking weaver of Nottingham named Hammond made a simple net in imitation of the ground of BRUSSELS LACE with his so-called 'Pin machine'. Further improvements followed. The 'Warp frame' was introduced in 1782 and by 1799 it was possible to make bobbin net by machinery; see also [Patents (1784)]; [Patents (1791)] for other patented methods of making machine lace. Although such lace was inferior to hand made lace, it was cheap and demand rose rapidly with Nottingham the centre of a new industry [Tomlinson (1854)]. Possibly, one or more of the different types of modified stocking frame may have been called a lace loom.

However, this is not what was listed as 'Ivory, Box and Tunbridge Lace Looms' in a large catalogue of TOYs and knick-knacks for domestic consumption published in 1794 [Tradecards (1794)]. What was probably described here was a simple device for making decorative laces as a lady-like pastime rather than a complex machine to make lace. The materials, BOX, IVORY or TUNBRIDGE also indicate toy-like articles suitable for display as much as for use. It may have been something of the sort that was recorded two hundred years previously as 'lace lome iijs vjd' [Inventories (1587)], though it is possible the appraisers merely inverted the two words, and LOOM LACE was intended.

OED earliest date of use: 1858

Sources: Inventories (early), Tradecards.
References: Tomlinson (1854).

Lacquer tack

[lacker tack]

Lacquer TACKs seem to have been more expensive than other tacks, in which case they may have been more decorative than functional and intended for use with LACQUERED - FURNITURE.

Found in units of THOUSAND

Sources: Inventories (late).

Lady allens water

'This is an excellent Cordial, and sweet', according to Martha Bradley. In her recipe, published nearly a century after the only example noted in the Dictionary Archive [Inventories (1665)], this water is shown to be based on WHEY distilled with WHITE WINE, BRANDY and a variety of HERBs. Bradley suggests that the name of Lady Allen may have become attached to this recipe, just as Lady Hewet's was joined to another, because 'many People who could not get the right Receipts, made them at their own Pleasure, and called them by these excellent Ladies names', though she added 'the true Receipts are given here' [Bradley (1756 facs.1996-8)].

Not found in the OED online

Found in units of LB

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).
References: Bradley (1756, facs. 1996-8).


The term was apparently originally used for AMBER to distinguish it from AMBERGRIS. However, both some of the OED's quotations and the entry in a Book of Rates of 'Lamber counterfet Amber beades the pound' [Rates (1582)] suggest that it subsequently came to mean a material used to make BEADs, which closely resembled amber. This material may be found in other sources actually labelled COUNTERFEIT amber, as in '8 Counterfit Amber' NECKLACEs [Inventories (1679)]. It is probable that some of the necklaces and beads that purported to be of amber were in fact of lamber in this sense.

OED earliest date of use: 1387

As BEADS: Found rated by the POUND

Sources: Rates.


A TEXTILE; apparently a kind of LINEN CLOTH [Inventories (1587)]. It has not been noted by the authorities on textiles.

Found in units of ELL

Sources: Inventories (early).

Lambs head

[lams head; lamhead hinge]

A type of HINGE

Not found in the OED

Found in units of PAIR

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period).

Lamp black

[lamp-black; lampblack; lame blacke; lame black; lambs black; lamblaik; lamblacke; lamblack; lambe black; lambblacke; lamb-black; lamb blacke; lamb black; lam black]

A PIGMENT consisting of almost pure carbon made by collecting the soot produced by burning OIL. According to Houghton in an alternative method RESIN was used [Houghton], while [Patents (1772)] described a method using MINERAL OIL. It was stocked by many retailers and so was presumably in demand, being used primarily to make printer's INK. It was very cheap being valued at 6d the BARREL or less.

OED earliest date of use: 1598

Found listed under COLOURs Found described as for BATH STOVEs
Found in units of BARREL, BOX, CANE/CAN, CWT, DOZEN, HUNDRED, LB, QUARTER, small cane Found rated by HUNDREDWEIGHT of 112 LB

Sources: Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Rates, Tradecards.

Lamp black barrel

[lamblack barrel; lamb-black barrel]

A BARREL designed to carry LAMP BLACK, a very fine powder requiring a tighter BARREL than was the case regarding most DRY WARE

Not found in the OED

Found described as LARGE, SMALL
Found in units of DOZEN

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).

Lamp cotton

A WICK designed for a LAMP (presumably made of COTTON) as opposed to CANDLE WICK

OED earliest date of use: 1782

Found described as PATENT

Sources: Houghton, Tradecards.



The river Lamprey or Lampern (Petromyzon fluviatilis) is properly not a FISH and resembles an EEL in shape and through the absence of scales. It is closely related to the sea LAMPREY. They were cooked in a variety of ways and widely eaten during the early- modern period. [Acts (1645)] indicates they were also used as bait to catch COD.

OED earliest date of use: 1324-5

Found described as POTTED
Found rated by the THOUSAND

See also EEL, LAMPREY.
Sources: Acts, Rates, Tradecards.


[lamprei; lampraie]

Not a FISH, it is a part of the Agnatha, meaning 'jawless', a group of the most primitive living vertebrates. Its genus is Petromyzon, and its physical characteristics include a close resemblance to eels in shape and the absence of scales. There are three types of edible lamprey; the lamprey EEL or sea lamprey, the LAMPERN or river lamprey and the lamprey proper. Most types of lamprey are parasites in adult life in that they attach themselves to fish or sea mammals and suck out their blood and flesh causing serious injury and sometimes slow death [Anon (online 1999)]. It is found in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and in spring migrates to the mouths of rivers where the adults spawn and die.

The sea lamprey is the most highly prized, but along with the SHAD and TWAIT, lampreys were found in large quantities in the River Severn, as is evident from [Acts (1778)] that regulated the size and mesh of fishing nets 'for the better Preservation of Fish, and regulating the Fisheries'. According to Alan Davidson, potted Severn lamprey were once a famous food, but they are no longer sold [Davidson (1980)]. In the early modern period they were regarded as gastronomic delicacies, although their flesh is very fatty [Froud and Turgeon (1961)]. They were cooked by frying, roasting and baking, as well as sold and prepared as POTTED, as in for example [May (1685, facs. 1994)] and [Raffald (1769, new ed. 1977)]. While lamprey were often featured in cookery books of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, they virtually vanished from this source during the nineteenth century [Davidson (1999)]. It is, however, still popular in selected parts of Europe today such as Galicia and northern Portugal.

OED earliest date of use: 1297

Found described as POTTED
Found rated by the PIECE

See also EEL, LAMPERN.
Sources: Acts, Rates.
References: Anon (online 1999), Davidson (1980), Davidson (1999), Froud and Turgeon (1961), May (1685, facs. 1994), Raffald (1769, 1997 ed.).

Lanthorn leaves

[lanthorn leave]

HORN processed into flat leaves for use as the 'glass' in LANTHORNS

OED earliest date of use: 1640

Found described as LARGE, MIDDLE, SMALL
Found in units of HUNDRED Found rated by the M, thousand leaves

Sources: Houghton, Newspapers, Rates.

Lapis armenus

[lapis armeus; lapis armenus]

Armenian stone, or azurite, a naturally occurring basic COPPER carbonate, originally from Armenia, but later from Germany, from which BLUE BICE was prepared. It was often found in association with another copper carbonate, malachite from which GREEN BICE was prepared. Lapis armenius was formerly administered as an aperient and as a remedy for epilepsy. Probably because they were both blue, blue bice was sometimes misinterpreted to mean LAPIS LAZULI[Harley (1970)].

OED earliest date of use: 1621

Found rated by the POUND

Sources: Rates.
References: Harley (1970).

Lapis lazuli

[lapis-lazuli; lapis lazula; lapis lazaris; lap: lazuli]

A sodium aluminium silicate containing SULPHUR, of a bright BLUE colour, almost all of which was mined in this period in remote parts of Afghanistan inaccessible to Europeans. It was used to make ULTRAMARINE, the most important BLUE - PIGMENT [Harley (1970)]. Examples found in the Dictionary Archive suggest it was used in medicine in small quantities. Judging by the valuations noted it was one of the most expensive DRUGS available, being valued from 3d DRAM to 3s OUNCE.

OED earliest date of use: 1398

Found in units of DRAM, OZ Found imported by LB Found among the DRUGS in the Rate Books, rated by the POUND

Sources: Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Patents, Rates.
References: Harley (1970).

Lapis tartari

Literally 'stone of tartar'. Presumably it was ARGOL or TARTAR in crystalline form.

Not found in the OED

Found rated by the CWT, TUN

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).

Larding pin

[larding-pin; larding pinn; lard pin]

A pointed instrument with which MEAT is pierced and the BACON or other appropriate material inserted in the process of larding in order to keep the meat moist and to add flavour.

OED online earliest date of use: 1598

Found made of BRASS
Found in units of DOZEN

Sources: Inventories (late), Tradecards.

Large ginger

[larg ginger; la ginger; l ginger]

A type of GINGER found in the shops before 1700. It was probably RACE GINGER in large pieces, as opposed to PETTY GINGER or SMALL GINGER. In the one example where valuations were comparable, large ginger was valued at 13d LB, with small at 8d [Inventories (1631)]. A recipe by William Rabisha for PRESERVED GINGER indicates that large ginger was usually in the form of races of BLACK GINGER [Rabisha (1682, facs. 2003)].

Found in units of LB

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period).
References: Rabisha (1682, facs. 2003).